We support you but give us the deputy slot, Mt Kenya tells Ruto
Members of Parliament (MPs) allied to Deputy President William Ruto have endorsed his candidature and locked out potential suitors to the Mt Kenya region.
A group of legislators from the region held a meeting with the DP in Masai Mara, Narok county at the weekend and resolved that Ruto will be the region’s candidate for the 2022 election and that the region is ‘locked’.
And in return for their support the region has demanded influential positions in Ruto’s administration, including the running mate slot.
“We have listened to the DP and what he has in store for us as a region and unanimously resolved that he will be our presidential candidate next year,” said Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
According to Gachagua, although they (MPs) have no capacity to lock out other candidates from selling their manifestos in the region, they will present Ruto to the people as their preferred candidate.
“Kieleweke can bring their person to the people but for us we have settled on Ruto and will not engage any other candidate on matters 2022,” Gachagua said.
Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri said the issue of who will be the presidential candidate was discussed and settled during the two-day meeting and members were undivided on Ruto’s candidature.
“The issue of who will be Mt Kenya and the Diaspora presidential candidate has been settled.
We will now go full throttle to sell Ruto’s name to our people,” said Ngunjiri.
And although the MPs denied that the issue of position sharing was part of the agenda, sources said Ruto agreed to have the region take the running mate slot.
The name of former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri featured prominently although others have also been touted as possible candidates, including Gachagua and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki.
“I can confirm to you the issue of positions was not discussed during the weekend meeting; whoever is spreading the rumours is misplaced and an agent of our competitors,” Ngunjiri said.
Ruto reacted to the issue of sharing positions, saying in the past, political positions have been created, power has been shared, leaders’ interests have been catered for but this has not improved the lot of the overwhelming majority of Kenyans.
“The solution is definitely elsewhere: A new political conversation about ordinary people, not leaders and a new bottom-up economic model, not trickle-down economics,” Ruto said in a statement released after the meeting.
Both Gachagua and Ngunjiri said the key issue of the meeting was the region’s economic revival where top economists were invited to take the members through what the DP has in store not only for Mt Kenya but for the country as a whole.
“The DP brought his economic advisors led by David Ndii to explain how he plans to revive the economy if he assumes power.
We were satisfied with the programmes and what remains is for us to support by passing the message on to the electorate,” Gachagua revealed.
And in a statement issued after the meeting, Ruto gave a raft of reforms that will benefit the region should he win the presidency.
He said he will free the country from the shackles of ethnic mobilisation that breeds division and hate and move it to a new political paradigm centred on national, all-inclusive consensus with an all-encompassing development agenda.
The DP said his administration will make political competition issue-based with tangible and measurable development outcomes.
“It is on these two platforms that the Jubilee administration has proceeded from 2013 to date.
As we focus into the future, it is necessary to appreciate and evaluate the many successes, challenges and shortcomings and plan the future accordingly,” Ruto explained.
Building on foundation
He added that learning from the nine years they have been in power and building on the foundation that has been laid, it is now necessary to progress in among other ways non-ethnic, non-regional and non-divisive political foundations.
“It is absolutely necessary to proceed to a conversation about ordinary Kenyans, the Hustlers - the traders, boda boda, mama mboga, farmers, pastoralists, wheelbarrow, taxi-drivers and mkokoteni owners among others – a new conversation that is not about leaders, their positions, their ambitions and their private and personal interests,” said the DP in a statement.
Ruto said as a country, Kenyans must engineer a fundamental paradigm shift from the perennial politics of personalities, positions and power to a candid, open and frank engagement with the people on the economy, their aspirations and their future.
“We must acknowledge both the ethnic political model-it is our turn-and its counterpart trickle down economics continue to impede our full political, economic and social development potential,” wrote the DP.
The trickle-down model, he explained, excludes millions of citizens from the economic mainstream thereby denying them an opportunity to realise their full potential.
The model, he added, had failed to create enough jobs, expand opportunities and bring prosperity, saying that instead, it had fostered a hostile environment that has made it difficult for enterprise, trade, business, creativity and initiative to thrive.
Said Ruto: “Today, the number of excluded Kenyans is in the order of 10 million, half our national workforce. A country that leaves half its people behind cannot go far.”
The DP said the process of engagement and consultation has kicked off with a meeting of a committee of leaders representing 11 counties from the Mt Kenya region.
“We have had a robust, extensive, frank and candid engagement on the single most important destiny-changing discussion in our country’s economic history,” Ruto added.
He said the engagement will progressively cover all counties, all regions and all sectors of the economy, adding that such other meetings have been planned with Western, Northern, the Coast, Nairobi, Eastern, Nyanza and Rift Valley regions.